Los Cabos: Top Attractions
|Getting way close to nature (Bruce Herman/courtesy, Mexico Tourism)|
Situated at the tip of the Baja peninsula on Mexico's Pacific coast, Los Cabos sports a dramatic landscape of mountains, desert, and sea. The region consists of three areas: bustling Cabo San Lucas on the southwest; the quieter, mission-influenced San JosÃ© del Cabo located on the Sea of Cortez and northeast of Cabo San Lucas; and the 20-mile stretch between the aforementioned regions known as the Corridor, the location of many of the resort hotels.
The many beaches in Los Cabos are beautiful, but despite their alluring setting come with strong currents and warnings against swimming, which means most enjoy the ocean views from the pool. But that doesn't mean one cannot hit the beach. The best beach for getting wet in Cabos San Lucas is Playa Medano, in town and near the dock. The long sandy beach faces a relatively calm bay and concessionaires rent kayaks and other water toys . Near San JosÃ© try Pueblo La Playa, also know as La Playita. For watching surfersÂ—not for swimmingÂ—go to Playa Costa Azul or Playa Acapulquito in the Corridor.
Additional Info: 866.LOS.CABOS, www.visitcabo.com
El Arco and Lover's Beach (Cabo San Lucas)
Wind and water erosion carved El Arco, a stone arch that has become the symbol of Los Cabos. Nearby at Lover's Beach, the jade-colored Sea of Cortez and the deep blue Pacific lap at silver sand. These icons remain inaccessible from land, but can be reached by either kayak or boat. Outfitters at Cabos San Lucas' marina offer both kayaking and glass-bottom boat tours. If paddling, be certain you can handle the sometimes strong currents.
Additional Info: 866.LOS.CABOS, www.visitcabo.com
Cabo San Lucas touts itself as the "marlin capital of the world." Ernest Hemingway, as well as a coterie of the famous and wealthy, came to Cabo to reel in trophy fish. Teens will like the challenge. Although marlin inhabit the deep canyons where the Sea of Cortez joins the Pacific Ocean, locals favor February, March, and April to haul in these fish. Since dorado and tuna like warm water, the best months to catch them are August through October.
Solmar Sportfishing: 800.344.3349, www.solmar.com
Like Taos or Sedona before development, Todos SantosÂ—about 45 minutes north of Cabo San LucasÂ—retains the charm of a small artisans' village. Browse the galleries for paintings and the boutiques for silver necklaces, colorful platters and mugs, and hand-woven baskets. Try lunch at the Hotel California. Legend has it, the property inspired the popular Eagles song.
Todos Santos: www.todossantos.cc
ATV and Jeep Tours
Exploring the deserts and mountains by bumping off-road in a jeep or an ATV is a popular Cabo pastime. Even your jaded teens will be impressed. Favorite guided jeep tours follow dry river-bed canyons and visit a small Mexican pueblo before pausing for some R&R at a waterfall or natural spring. ATV outings often go to Cabo Falso, an 1890 lighthouse, or La Candelaria, a native village in the mountain. The heat from the sun can be severe, so wear a hat, bring sunscreen, and drink lots of water.
Baja Wild: +52.624.14.253.00, www.bajawild.com
The warm waters and protected lagoons near Los Cabos serve as delivery rooms January through March for pods of Pacific gray whales arriving from Alaska. Day outings from Los Cabos provide glimpses of these 40-foot behemoths in open water, but if you want to get closer to these powerful sea mammals, take a flight to Magdalena Bay on the other side of the peninsula. In those calm waters, the whales, acclimated to humans, often swim so near to your skiff that you notice the barnacles on their heads and smell the fishy scent of their blowhole spray. Children love this experience.
Las Cabos Tourism Board: 866.LOS.CABOS, www.visitcabo.com
Sea Lion Safari
Scores of California sea lions sun themselves on Los Islotes, off the shores north of La PazÂ—but not for long. When folks jump into the water so do the barking, big bellied critters. Frolic with these acrobatic swimmers as they flip, twist, and encircle you. But be a bit carefulÂ—these sea lions, while habituated to people, are still wild and caution should be exercised. Many vacationers praise the experience as the highlight of their trip, well worth the two-hour drive, plus 30-minute boat ride. This adventure is best for teens.
Baja Adventure: +52.62.415.08500, www.bajaadventure.com
Cuadra San Francisco
Another way to savor Los Cabos' dramatic mountain and sea views is from the back of a horse, and Cuadra San Francisco is the outfitter to lead you along the desert trails, canyons, and hills. The stable also offers scenic horseback walks along the beach. To avoid the mid-day heat, book the morning or late-afternoon rides.
Cuadra San Francisco: +52.624.144.0160, www.loscaboshorses.com
Kayaking & Snorkeling
Baja Wild offers amazing kayaking and snorkeling trips to El Arco and Lover's Beach, as well as outings to Cabu Pulmo Marine Park, the only living coral reef in Baja California. Even if you've seen more colorful coral and abundant fish elsewhere, the trip gives you time in and on Baja's turquoise waters.
Baja Wild: +52.624.14.253 00, www.bajawild.com
Brightly painted pottery, punched-tin mirrors, hammocks, woven bags, and T-shirts are sold in shop after shop, but the real find is silver. Rows of shiny bangles, dangling earrings, necklaces, pendants, cufflinks, and bookmarks lie on display at vendors' stalls among the rows of storefronts, all for a bargain. San Jose del Cabo, anchored by an 18th-century church and not as commercial as Cabo San Lucas, offers a less intense browsing and bargain shopping experience.
Los Cabos Tourism Board: 866.LOS.CABOS, www.visitcabo.com
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication